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Rio 2016
Annalise Murphy - Sailing's Rio Olympic silver medalist
What’s behind your Olympic dream? That’s the question that the Olympic Federation of Ireland asked Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy in this video (below) to celebrate Olympic Day today. Irish Sailing nominated Murphy for Tokyo 2021 this month and Ireland's…
Aoife Hopkins competing at the first and only Olympic trial in the women's Radial class in Australia
Aoife Hopkins will not appeal last week’s decision to cut-short the Radial Olympic trial for Tokyo 2021 as Howth Yacht Club, expressed its disappointment for both the former U21 European Champion and clubmate Eve McMahon, both contestants in the Irish…
Annalise Murphy competing in Melboune in February - Irish Sailing has nominated the Rio silver medalist for Tokyo
Rio 2016 silver medallist Annalise Murphy will be nominated in the Laser Radial to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Irish Sailing has announced. Murphy secured the Laser Radial nomination after the conclusion of the trials in which her…
Lough Derg's Aisling Keller on her way to qualifying Ireland in the Women's Laser Radial for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the 2019 World Championships
A cut-short Olympic trial in the women's Laser Radial class has handed trials leader and Rio silver medalist Annalise Murphy selection for the Tokyo Olympics as Afloat reports here. News of this week's decision, however, has left two of the…
2020 Offshore World Championship Cancelled Due to COVID-19
World Sailing has cancelled the 2020 Offshore World Championship, due to be held alongside October’s Rolex Middle Sea Race in Valletta, Malta, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The many uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the…
Aoife Hopkins and Annalise Murphy make the RTE evening news bulletin as they return to training in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Rathfarnham's Annalise Murphy from the National Yacht Club was back sailing in Dun Laoghaire Harbour today, the first time the Rio silver medalist was on the water in 55 days. Her return, in a bid for a place on the…
Launching of boats will resume  from the high performance purpose-built pontoon in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy could be back on the water next week as the Irish Olympic Sailing Team returns to its Performance Head Quarters at Dun Laoghaire Harbour from Monday, May 18. Murphy, along with three other single-handed trialists, had…
Annalise Murphy after winning silver at Rio 2016
“In my head I was going, ‘If I give up here, they’re going to be saying that Annalise The Olympian has just quit’. So I couldn’t quit.” That’s how Annalise Murphy explains her motivation to keep up her fitness and…
Tokyo 2020 President Says Olympics ‘Will Be Scrapped’ If Coronavirus Threatens Further Delay
The president of Tokyo 2020 says the Olympic Games already postponed to next year “will be scrapped” if it cannot go ahead at its rescheduled date. As RTE News reports, Yoshiro Mori was responding to concerns that a vaccine for…
Finn Lynch racing in Miami earlier this year
Viking Marine touched base over the weekend with brand ambassador Finn Lynch, who’s been keeping both mentally and physically active despite the current Covid-19 restrictions. While the Irish Laser sailor has had to put his Tokyo 2020 ambitions on hold…
Racing at the 2018 World Cup Series Hyères
Hyères Olympic Week (Semaine Olympique Française) — which was scheduled to begin today, Saturday 18 April — has been cancelled by its organisers for 2020 as no suitable date later this year has been deemed viable. But in its stead…
https://afloat.ie/sail/olympic-sailing/tokyo-2020/item/45413-royal-irish-s-saskia-tidey-narrowly-misses-winning-49erfx-world-title
The 15 sailors already named to represent Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will remain the same for the rescheduled Games in 2021, the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have confirmed. The squad…
World Sailing Claimed To Be In Dire Financial Straits In Wake Of Olympics Postponement
A vice-president of World Sailing has appealed for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to advance its share of revenue from Tokyo 2020 as the governing body faces dire financial straits. Scott Perry told insidethegames that the postponement of the next…
The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch is one of three Irish sailors seeking to qualify for Tokyo in the men's Laser class
Ireland will keep its only Tokyo 2020 berth so far and could benefit from another if final outstanding qualification events do not take place, according to the world governing body for the sport of sailing. Confirmation that the place Lough…
A moment of special peace in a troubled time. David Wilkins of Malahide receives his 1980 Olympic Silver Medal from IOC President Lord Killanin as his Flying Dutchman crew Jamie Wilkinson of Howth awaits his turn.
With the world becoming unrecognisable as the invisible Enemy of the People takes over to make our lives Coronavirus-dominated and postpone the 2020 Olympics to 2021, in our not-so-splendid isolation we can find consolation in disappearing into the Afloat archives…
Team Ireland Changes Focus to Tokyo 2021
As news of the postponed Olympic Games spread, Team Ireland athletes came together to demonstrate solidarity, optimism and hope. Right now, the biggest battle is not being fought in the pitches, courts and arenas, but it is the fight against…

Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

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